By Li Onesto
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Extra info for Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal
The first thing Dipak talks about are some of the people who have been killed in this area. ‘Rewati Sapkota was 25 years old, married with a son and a daughter, at the time of his death in 1998. He had been in the People’s Army a year and a half before being killed by a police commander in a sudden encounter in the forest. Four guerrillas were attacked by about a dozen police and Rewati and one other squad member were killed. ‘Bhim Prasad Sharma was 20 years old and had just graduated from high school and gotten married when he was killed − in another sudden encounter with the police.
And by the time they arrive, the meeting will be over and people will have already dispersed. We stay in this village for several days, but because of security concerns, we’re confined to the house during the day. Several people Onesto 01 intro 36 22/9/04 4:51:28 pm The Raid on Bethan 37 come to talk with me and I know arranging such visits is very difficult. Many people, because they are wanted by the police, can only travel at night, and even then they are risking their lives. Communication is hard and many different factors have to be taken into account − the security of the whole area, of the family we are staying with, of the people who come to talk, and how long it is safe to stay in one place without calling attention to ourselves.
I want to look into the different elements of Nepalese society that seem to be fueling this revolution − the poverty of peasant farmers, the feudal treatment of women, the oppression of ethnic minority groups, the hopelessness of youth. There is plenty of news and commentary about the ‘Maoist problem’ in the mainstream media in Kathmandu. But my mission is to help the world to hear the story of the side in this war that doesn’t have easy access to TV, radio, and international newswires. My notebooks and rolls of film are waiting to capture this story.